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You are here:      Home News Latest News Vietnam Travel News 2011
Vietnam Travel News 2011
New road helps tap tourism potential
Rung Sac (Sac Forest) road, a new road linking HCMC with the East Sea through coastal district Can Gio, was inaugurated on Saturday after nine years of construction, feeding eco-tourism potential in the district internationally recognized as a biosphere reserve.
Huynh Cach Mang, chairman of Can Gio District, said local government would continue calling for holiday and environmental tourism investment including restaurant and hotel services. The district now has 31 tourism projects, seven of which are operating.

Construction of the VND1.5 trillion road began in 2002, stretching over 31 kilometers from Binh Khanh ferry to the 30-4 intersection. The road has six lanes and seven bridges across the canals that crisscross Can Gio mangrove forest.

HCMC chairman Le Hoang Quan at the inauguration ceremony urged related units to cooperate with the Transport Ministry to build Binh Khanh Bridge to replace the ferry service. The city would also upgrade roads connecting with Rung Sac road like Ly Nhon, An Thoi Dong, Tam Thon Hiep and Rung Sac parallel road.

“Nha Be District needs to speed up site clearance and hand over land to Saigon Water Corp. (Sawaco) to complete water supply facilities for Can Gio before April 30, as well as water pipes to families in local communes,” Quan was quoted by Phap Luat as saying.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the first phase on January 26, 2010, State President Nguyen Minh Triet said the road was the city’s strategic gateway to the East Sea and would help boost the social and economic development of not only Can Gio District but also the city.

After the first phase, local residents in the most remote district of the city no longer relied solely on Binh Khanh ferry. The road cuts travel time to Can Thanh Township by a third to 40 minutes from an hour.

The road was constructed by Voluntary Youth Public Service Co. Ltd. while Saigon Construction Quality Control Co. was the supervision consultant. The district’s project construction and investment management unit was the investor of the project.

A 600 hectare sea reclamation project in Can Gio will restart in June with 100 hectares  expected to complete this year.

( Source VietNamNet/SGT)
Sate your sweet tooth with bánh bó

tate-banh-boOne of the best things about Tet (Lunar New Year) is all the delicious foods you are allowed to eat without worrying about the calories. Already, bakers and confectioners across the city are beginning to display packaged gift boxes with different breads and sweets that are popular during the country’s biggest festival of a year.

Tet is the time of the year when sweet cakes are in abundance, and none is sweeter than bánh bó, a typical fruit cake from central provinces of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Thua Thien-Hue.

Bánh bó, which literally means “bundled cake,” is a slice of glutinous rice flour goodness speckled with candied fruits.

In homes in the central region, many people make their own bánh bó. Every one in the house gets involved in the process of chopping fruits, kneading dough and assembling the sweet festive cakes.

To make the cake from scratch, buy a variety of fresh seasonal fruits such as ripe tomatoes, kumquat, carrots, winter melons, ginger and pineapples. The kumquat gives it a little sourness and the ginger adds some spice. Dice all the fruits into tiny pieces.

In a pot of water, add sugar and diced fruits and simmer until the water reduces by half and has the consistency of thick syrup. Now set the candied fruit aside and let cool.

For homemade rice flour, wash, drain and dry the best quality glutinous rice you can find. The better the rice, the silkier the cake will be.

Roast dry rice on low heat until it becomes fragrant, but ensure that it doesn’t brown. Ground this rice into fine milky white flour, and sift it.

In a separate bowl, boil sugar and water with a few drops of vanilla. Don’t reduce the water much or the cake will become too sweet.

Add this sugar syrup to the sifted flour and knead with gentle hands until you have a soft dough.

Flatten the dough with a rolling pin. Put all the candied fruit into the center of the dough, then knead again to mix the fruit well with the dough. Now, shape the dough into a cube and cut one centimeter thick slices. Wrap the cake in cling wrap to store it in a cool and dry place.

The finished bánh bó is fragrant and sweet. The colorful cake brings together a variety of tastes and textures – perfect for the festive season.
( Source Thanh Nien)
Vietnam opens int’l airport in Can Tho

first-visitors-to-vietnmaAfter two years of construction, a new international airport opened in the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho Saturday.

The Can Tho International Airport, which cost VND3 trillion (US$153 million), was built on an area of 20,750 square meters with state-of-the-art facilities, the government said in a report on its website.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremomy, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the new airport brings a great integration opportunity to Can Tho City and the Mekong Delta, linking it to other regions across the country and the world.

He also urged authorities to speed up the development of other infrastructure projects and solve transport problems that have hindered the trading of goods in the Mekong Delta.

Construction of the airport started in September 2005 and its first phase was completed in January 2009. The airport received 211,000 passengers in 2010, up 39 percent from the previous year.

The other three international airports of Vietnam are in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
( Source Thanh Nien)
Vietnamese hotels make Condé Nast Traveler list

vietnamese-hotels-make-conde-travelaer-listFour hotels and resorts in Vietnam have made it onto Condé Nast Traveler’s 17th Annual 2011 Gold List of World's Best Places to Stay.

The winners were selected by the magazine’s 25,000 readers.

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, the Life Heritage Resort Hoi An, the Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses in Nha Trang and the Park Hyatt Saigon were included on the vaunted list, which was released with the January issue of the magazine.

The Metropole was praised for its charm and central location. The Life Resort was lauded for its modern townhouses and river views. The Evason won for its “Southern California meets Cabo vibe” and the Park Hyatt in Ho Chi Minh City for its French colonial style rooms.

The Gold List was compiled using data collected during Condé Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Survey. The scores are given based on the percentage of readers who rate each property feature (location, service, design, food, rooms and activities) as excellent or very good. Only candidates that received a required minimum number of responses were deemed eligible for an award, according to the magazine.

The Life Heritage and the Evason were also included in Condé Nast Traveler’s top-20 list of the Best Resorts in Asia, last November.

The 2010 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards ranked Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses Spa 8th, followed by Life Heritage Resort Hoi An. The Nam Hai in Hoi An, took the 20th slot.
( Source Thanh Nien)
T?t Market

hanoi-to-host-spring-fairThe approach of T?t (Lunar New Year) is marked by an abundance of decorations in the street and traditional food in the shops. You can almost smell the coming Lunar New Year.

For Vietnamese people, T?t is an occasion not only to enjoy the change of year with family and friends but also the chance to thank the gods, spirits and nature, to visit friends, relatives and teachers, and to remember and honor their forebears.

Long ago, the phrase “s?m T?t” (buying for T?t) was spoken with passion by Vietnamese housewives - not that they had much money to splurge on T?t treats for themselves or the frequent guests they made welcome in their homes.

For the very poor, “s?m T?t” could be a real burden. Families would save up all year so that they could buy something special for themselves, their relatives, and their guests at this most special time.

In olden days, the anticipation would begin to simmer months in advance of the holiday.

Even in the harried, upbeat world of today with all its commercial culturalism and globalization, the lead-up to T?t is still a vibrant time in the countryside.

Now that incomes have risen substantially in Vietnam, most people have deeper pockets and no longer buy the cheap mång and mi?n (dried bamboo shoot and transparent noodles) months before T?t.

Less budget-minded than before, they go about their preparations quietly and rarely engage in animated chatter with their friends and neighbors about what shopping bargains are available where and how best to scrimp and save for T?t.

In the Vietnamese countryside, the important days for T?t shopping at the big provincial markets are the 23rd and from the 27th to the 30th of the final lunar month. This is when rural dwellers hunt for home decorations, prepared food and the essential ingredients for cooking up a feast.

The harvest done, villagers travel to market to prepare for the most important holiday of the year. It’s an exciting place to be, a hive of activity, chatter, color and fun.

What a T?t market offers

The atmosphere of T?t is in the air already as people flock from the remote villages to the big markets. Many set out early in the morning to buy gifts for friends and future in-laws. Farmers bring the best produce from their fields and gardens to the busy world of the T?t market.

These shopping excursions offer a window into Vietnamese culture and customs.

A typical ch? T?t (T?t market) is characterized by a true abundance of g?o n?p (sticky rice), lá dong (green leaf), rice wine, flowers and all kind of food, fruit and decorative plants for T?t. The 23rd is special as that’s the day for buying cá chép (carp) to release later on as an offering to Táo quân (the Spirit of the Kitchen).

Nowadays, the T?t markets feature more and more imported goods alongside the traditional fare.

Special T?t markets

Closing out the old year, a T?t market is not just for serious shoppers but for everybody to breathe in the festive air and enjoy the colorful spectacle.

Big flower markets are common as T?t approaches. One such extravaganza filled with spring blossoms and bonsai trees is held along the Yen Phu road near the villages of Ngoc Ha and Quang Ba in Hanoi. They call it a “flower road market” and each year it seems to stretch out along the road farther than ever (three kilometers at last count).

Two or three weeks before T?t is the time to visit the “flower road market” to buy house plants or a d? quyên (Rhododendron) tree in bloom. Needless to say, it’s full of sightseers revelling in the spring atmosphere.

A T?t market in Vietnam’s uplands is especially exotic. Starting early in the morning, a seemingly endless line of locals on foot, horseback or motorbike snakes into market, filling the stalls specializing in mèn mén (boiled corn powder) and th?ng c? (horse innards soup).

In Nam Dinh Province, in the north, a special market is held from the seventh day of the new lunar year called “Ch? Vi?ng” or “Ch? Âm Ph?,” which means “the market where you can meet the dead.”

Besides shopping for beef and antiquated farming equipment at Ch? Vi?ng, it is said that people can meet and talk with their dear departed on the evening of the seventh and the next morning, if they are lucky.

Visiting a T?t market is a fascinating experience, full of sights, sounds, scents and emotions.
(Source Thanh Nien)
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